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Movies in Wrenshall barn return for 16th year


June 21, 2019

If you’ve never attended a film festival in a barn, here’s your chance.

The Free Range Film Festival — located in the big barn at the corner of County Road 1 and County Road 4 near Wrenshall — returns next Friday and Saturday, June 28-29.

This year’s festival has a theme: Competition.

“I realized as I was screening films for this year’s festival that we had a lot of movies about interesting people participating in very particular pursuits,” film festival programmer Annie Dugan said. “I don’t know what it is in the cultural zeitgeist right now, but people want to compete.”

The festival runs for two days and each screening holds a contest film.

Friday night features a movie about creative dog grooming competitions (think fur dye and rhinestones), Saturday afternoon the festival showcases model airplane contests taken to salt mines in Romania, and Saturday evening there will be a documentary about celebrity death pools.

The festival begins Friday with a 7 p.m. screening of four films that are 10 minutes in length or shorter followed by a 57-minute film about finding treasure and tetanus in the Yellowknife town dump. At 9 p.m. Friday comes another short film, “Life in Miniature,” followed by the longer “Well Groomed,” the movie about the crazy world of the competitive dog grooming circuit.

Movie sessions start Saturday at 2, 7 and 9 p.m. and feature films like “Dough,” — a 4-minute film about kneading dough — and “Great! Lakes,” which features the old-fashioned candy shop in Knife River.

The annual event is quirky in its own right: the 16-year-old festival operates out of a 103-year-old barn in Wrenshall. “We’ve built a following of filmmakers and audiences alike”, Dugan said. “There is just something about watching a movie in a big hay loft that lets people relax. But not too much, because you want to know who wins.”

Many of the filmmakers responsible for work in the festival will be in attendance. They will visit from Brooklyn, Milwaukee, and California. Some of the individuals who inspired the films will be in attendance as well. All of the participants in “RIP List” will be on site to answer questions on what it is like to be part of a group that chooses who they think is going to die that year.


If you go

• Free Range Film Festival

• Friday and Saturday, June 28-29

• 909 County Road 4, Wrenshall


7 p.m. Friday, June 28

MUTEUM (5m) A teacher takes a group of mischievous children on a tour of an art gallery.

THE STORY OF EURUP (4m) A sandwich maker on the planet Eurup, named that because that’s what the cows said.

UNDERGROUND (3m) A lonely person unexpectedly takes a journey to reconnect with life.

THE CALL (10m) A phone call, a bathroom and a woman at the nexus of the worlds.

SALVAGE (57m) Find treasure and tetanus in the Yellowknife town dump.

9 p.m. Friday

LIFE IN MINIATURE (5m) A woman from Yorkshire reflects on her place as an artist in the precious world of miniatures.

WELL GROOMED (85m) Spend some time on the competitive creative dog grooming circuit (because it is crazy).

2 p.m. Saturday, June 29

WINTER CRANES (4m) Cranes make a very specific sound… Let’s see if you can hear it.

A GIFT (25m) A man tries to write a song while his wife is away… with unexpected results.

GREAT! LAKES (18m) The candy kitchen in Knife River makes candy the old fashioned way. Did we mention candy? Candy!

SALSUS (44m) An obstinate patient in Tehran adores processed meat.

FLOAT (82m) It’s the model airplane world championship and a newcomer has arrived to shake things up.

7 p.m. Saturday, June 28

ONE CAMBODIAN FAMILY PLEASE FOR MY PLEASURE (14m) In 1981, a refugee from Czechoslovakia learns how to market her new home in Fargo to another displaced family.

MAYA BDEG’A (PELICAN HILL) (4m) A true story of a heroic pelican as unwanted visitors approach the banks of Lake Traverse.


RIPLIST (68m) While participating in a celebrity death pool, seven friends learn about the value of life.

Music from Portrait of a Drowned Man.

9 p.m. Saturday

BENEATH THE INK (13m) An Ohio tattoo artist will cover up your Nazi symbols for free. You just gotta stop the hating.

DOUGH (4m) Watching someone knead dough is just about the most relaxing thing you can do.

INGRID (52m) A fashion designer retreats to the woods to live like a hermit.


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